The back streets of Basra, Iraq, are a mix of modern housing, 19th century wooden balconies, and crumbling infrastructure.

The back streets of Basra, Iraq, are a mix of modern housing, century wooden balconies, and crumbling infrastructure.

Saddam Hussein's former palace faces the Shatt Al Arab River just south of Basra, Iraq. After the 2003 war the palace was occupied by British troops and then looted by the locals when the Brits left.

Saddam Hussein's former palace faces the Shatt Al Arab River just south of Basra, Iraq. After the 2003 war the palace was occupied by British troops and then looted by the locals when the Brits left.

The wall of the Armenian church compound stands on a Basra street dominated by a minaret.

The wall of the Armenian church compound stands on a Basra street dominated by a minaret.

A row of traditional 19th century houses called Shanashels stands along a canal in Basra, Iraq. Abdul Latif Mandel House on the right has an intricate overhanging balcony and pointed windows.

A row of traditional century houses called Shanashels stands along a canal in Basra, Iraq. Abdul Latif Mandel House on the right has an intricate overhanging balcony and pointed windows.

Iraq's national dish is masgouf, carp split down the middle and slowly grilled on a fire altar. Baghdad is famous for its masgouf restaurants along the Tigris River but it's also available in Basra.

Iraq's national dish is masgouf, carp split down the middle and slowly grilled on a fire altar. Baghdad is famous for its masgouf restaurants along the Tigris River but it's also available in Basra.

Access to Saddam Hussein's former palace complex in Basra, Iraq, is through this ramshackle gateway.

Access to Saddam Hussein's former palace complex in Basra, Iraq, is through this ramshackle gateway.

A scenic Corniche promenade runs along the Shatt Al Arab River at Basra, Iraq. The Arabian Nights folk hero Sinbad the Sailor set out on his adventures from Basra.

A scenic Corniche promenade runs along the Shatt Al Arab River at Basra, Iraq. The Arabian Nights folk hero Sinbad the Sailor set out on his adventures from Basra.

The Imam Ali ibn Talib Mosque on the outskirts of Basra, Iraq, was the first to be built in Iraq following the Arab conquest in 636. Only part of the minaret remains from the original mosque.

The Imam Ali ibn Talib Mosque on the outskirts of Basra, Iraq, was the first to be built in Iraq following the Arab conquest in 636. Only part of the minaret remains from the original mosque.

Abdul Salam Manaseer House in Basra, Iraq, is home to the Union of Basra Artists which mounts changing art exhibitions.

Abdul Salam Manaseer House in Basra, Iraq, is home to the Union of Basra Artists which mounts changing art exhibitions.

The Al Ashar Fun City in Basra, Iraq, has a large Ferris wheel.

The Al Ashar Fun City in Basra, Iraq, has a large Ferris wheel.


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